The Cloud is In Your Future
A Worldwide Benchmark Study of Cloud-Based
Contact Center Applications, Channels and Satisfact...
Table of Contents
I.
II.
III.

Executive Summary.............................................................................
I.

Executive Summary

DMG’s worldwide survey of 169 enterprise, contact center, IT, operations, sales and
marketing execu...
companies with regard to all four topics, and presents best practices and tactics. In
some cases it also provides hints ab...
China, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria,
Norway and Portugal. 24 other countries are...
Figure 1: What is your industry?

Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013

Managers from 23 verticals responded to this s...
III.

Benchmarking Results and Leadership Profiles

Benchmarking is an effective method of assessing how a contact center ...
Figure 2: What are your top contact center initiatives planned for the
next 18 months? (Select your top three initiatives....
Figure 3: What are your top contact center initiatives planned for the next 18 months?
(Select your top three initiatives....
The survey asked:
Figure 4A: What are your organization’s top contact center investment priorities for
the next 18 months?...
Figure 4B: What are your organization’s top contact center investment priorities for
the next 18 months? (Choose all that ...
Survey participants were asked to rank their top contact center initiatives, which are
their department goals for 2014. Re...
8. Quality management – 25.0%; 69.2% plan to use a cloud-based solution
9. Tied for ninth:
Email response management (ERM)...
Figure 5: Acquision Model for Planned Contact Center Applications

Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013

- 12 -

© DMG...
DMG’s Leader Profile: 2014 Contact Center
Initiatives and Investment Priorities
Leading organizations use a formal plannin...
exist in the company. (The best-managed corporations have a formal process for
setting and sharing corporate goals on an o...
Therefore, a goal for all contact center managers should be to know their enterprise’s
goals and communicate them to their...
The survey asked:
Figure 7: When are you planning to implement a cloud-based system or application in
your contact center?...
Figure 8: Are you using any hosted/cloud-based systems or applications in your
customer service department or contact cent...
Figure 9: Which cloud-based contact center systems or applications are you currently
using?

Source: DMG Consulting LLC, O...
ACD was the top-ranked cloud-based contact center solution; it was utilized by 60.0% of
companies that were using a cloud-...
Figure 11: What channels does your contact center currently support? (Select all that
apply)

Source: DMG Consulting LLC, ...
self-service functionality to their customers. IM came in fifth; 41.3% of organizations
supported IM, although 61 organiza...
must mean is that these organizations were using a premise-based servicing application
to respond to customer feedback, co...
Figure 12 separates the number of respondents that plan to add each of the channels by
deployment model: on-premise or in ...
Figure 13: What channels does your contact center currently support and what do you plan to add in the next 18 months? (Se...
Figure 14: What are the top contact center servicing channels for the next 18 months?

Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October...
DMG’s Leader Profile: Contact Center
Applications and Channels
Enterprises need to build servicing environments that can c...
differentiating. Analytics is expected to play an essential role in the future of contact
centers, which can make excellen...
Here are best practices for building a leading multi-channel contact center:
1. Assess and enhance your company’s servicin...
Transitioning to Being a Leading User of Contact Center
Applications and Channels
The current generation of contact center...
iii:

Cloud Solution Drivers, Concerns and Satisfaction

A confluence of events is altering the contact center technical a...
Among current users of cloud-based contact center solutions, 66.3% were attracted by
the ease of scaling up and down. 59.3...
Figure 17: Why have you decided to implement a cloud-based contact center solution?
(Please choose all that apply.)

Sourc...
breadth of the solution, the fourth most commonly anticipated benefit. Decreasing total
cost of ownership, disaster recove...
Figure 19: What are/were your biggest concerns when considering a cloud-based contact
center solution? (Choose all that ap...
serious issue for most of the vendors as they mature, and is therefore an area that
differentiates the offerings.)
Network...
that plan to host. DMG cautions prospects of these solutions to pay close attention to
the ratings assigned by current use...
Figure 20: What are the top challenges in dealing with your cloud-based contact
center vendors? (Please choose all that ap...
to concerns about dependence on vendors, as shown in Figure 18. Companies that are
accustomed to managing their own contac...
Figure 21: Please rate your satisfaction level with your cloud-based contact center
solution provider in each of the follo...
were in the 3.3 range. This Figure makes it clear that the vendors have a great deal of
work to do in all satisfaction cat...
value/cost of ownership, and reporting and analytics. The rating scale was the same as
above, where a five was the high sc...
They also want to deal with vendors that use fair pricing models so that they are not
faced with surprises and unexpected ...
is a steep learning curve that most vendors do not anticipate.) Ask the vendors
for their performance statistics. Check ho...
Transitioning to Being a Leading and Highly Satisfied User of
Cloud-Based Contact Center Systems and Applications
Obviousl...
years. The questions in this study were intended to determine if enterprises had made
any progress in improving their hand...
16.8%. Google+ was in seventh, 14.7%. Tumblr was in eighth, 5.3%. Pinterest and
MySpace tied for ninth, 3.2%.
The findings...
Figure 25: What department is responsible for responding to social media comments
and feedback on a daily basis?

Source: ...
position as the go-to department for handling social media interactions, even though a
majority of the feedback that requi...
sensitized and trained to avoid social firestorms and help their company avoid negative
news stories. This team should rep...
V.

Final Thoughts

This benchmark study answers and quantifies a few of the most frequently asked
questions about contact...
tied to the first two goals. If companies improve agent productivity and increase the use
of self-service, they will decre...
VI.

Appendix: DMG’s Benchmark Study Research
Methodology

DMG’s research goal is to obtain an unbiased response to our su...
About Connect First
Connect First is an award-winning SaaS telecommunications and cloud contact center
software provider t...
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Cloud-Based Contact Center Study - Connect First

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DMG’s worldwide survey of 169 enterprise, contact center, IT, operations, sales and marketing executives, managers and leaders in organizations of all sizes, found that 62.4% of respondents were already using cloud-based (also known as hosted) systems and applications in their contact center or customer service departments. There were close to 45 types of systems and applications used in contact centers, all of which are now available from vendors on-premise using the traditional licensing model, or in the cloud.

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Cloud-Based Contact Center Study - Connect First

  1. 1. The Cloud is In Your Future A Worldwide Benchmark Study of Cloud-Based Contact Center Applications, Channels and Satisfaction October 2013 Sponsored by: © DMG Consulting LLC
  2. 2. Table of Contents I. II. III. Executive Summary................................................................................................. 1 Survey Demographics ............................................................................................. 2 Benchmarking Results and Leadership Profiles ...................................................... 5 i. 2014 Contact Center Initiatives and Investment Priorities .................................... 5 DMG’s Leader Profile: 2014 Contact Center Initiatives and Investment Priorities............................................................................................. 13 Transitioning to Being a Leader in Identifying Contact Center Initiatives and Investment Priorities...................................................................................... 14 ii. Contact Center Applications and Channels .......................................................... 15 DMG’s Leader Profile: Contact Center Applications and Channels ...................... 26 Transitioning to a Leading User of Contact Center Applications and Channels ... 29 iii Cloud Solution Drivers, Concerns and Satisfaction............................................... 30 DMG’s Leader Profile: Cloud-Based Contact Center Concerns, Challenges and Satisfaction..................................................................................................... 41 Transitioning to a Leading and Highly Satisfied User of Cloud-Based Contact Center Systems and Applications ............................................................ 44 IV. Social Customer Care ............................................................................................ 44 DMG’s Leader Profile: Social Customer Care........................................................ 48 Transitioning to being a leader in Social Customer Care ...................................... 49 V. Final Thoughts ....................................................................................................... 50 VI. Appendix: DMG’s Benchmark Study Research Methodology .............................. 52 About Connect First .......................................................................................................... 53 About DMG Consulting LLC ............................................................................................... 53 -i- © DMG Consulting LLC
  3. 3. I. Executive Summary DMG’s worldwide survey of 169 enterprise, contact center, IT, operations, sales and marketing executives, managers and leaders in organizations of all sizes, found that 62.4% of respondents were already using cloud-based (also known as hosted) systems and applications in their contact center or customer service departments. There were close to 45 types of systems and applications used in contact centers, all of which are now available from vendors on-premise using the traditional licensing model, or in the cloud. (A growing number of vendors also provide a managed service offering, but that is a different discussion.) At a fundamental level, the cloud is simply an alternative acquisition or delivery model for contact center or customer service systems and applications. However, in the world of contact center and customer service technologies and systems, the cloud has been a game changer. It is playing a major role in revitalizing a mature technology sector. It has helped to transform and enhance the competitive landscape for contact center and customer service applications by making it easier for new vendors to enter the market. End-user organizations have more choices and flexibility than at any time in the past. This also presents prospects with a few challenges, as there are now dozens of companies in many IT sectors vying for their business. When the inevitable happens and cloud-based markets shake out over the next 5 years, many of these vendors will be out of business. This study is intended to help enterprise, contact center, customer service and IT leaders gain an appreciation of the benefits and challenges of using cloud-based systems and applications in their service environment. It also clearly points out some of the pitfalls to avoid when working with these vendors. This benchmark study analyzes three highly interrelated topics: 1. Contact center initiatives and investment priorities for 2014 2. Contact center applications and challenges 3. Cloud solution drivers, concerns and satisfaction The study also revisits the status of social customer care, a topic that DMG analyzed in a benchmark report in November 2011, to determine if companies are making progress in handling these types of posts and inquiries. This study presents DMG’s survey results and discusses the significance of these findings for companies as they relate to 2014 investment plans and priorities, systems and servicing channels. The study also assists companies in determining how to best acquire the solutions they need to deliver an outstanding customer experience throughout every step of each customer’s journey. It analyzes the leadership characteristics of -1- © DMG Consulting LLC
  4. 4. companies with regard to all four topics, and presents best practices and tactics. In some cases it also provides hints about pitfalls to avoid, helping managers successfully build world-class contact center and servicing environments. This study enables readers to benchmark their company’s performance and plans in their contact center and servicing environments. It identifies the top investment priorities for contact centers and customer service organizations for the next 18 months, to help organizations prioritize their own investment strategies. It reveals which servicing channels are being used today, and what companies plan to adopt in the near future. It also delves deeply into the world of cloud-based solutions and provides transparency into the drivers, challenges and concerns in doing business with cloudbased vendors. This benchmark study is an essential tool for helping enterprises around the world build their servicing strategies and investment roadmaps. II. Survey Demographics During the summer of 2013, enterprise, contact center, IT, operations, sales, marketing and other executives and leaders from all over the world were invited to participate in this survey of cloud-based contact center solutions and applications. Of the 169 people who opted to participate in this study, 120 (71%) completed it. The study findings support vendors’ claims that adoption of cloud-based contact center systems and applications is strong and growing; survey responses show that 62.4% of organizations are already using non-premise based solutions to support at least some aspects of their contact center and customer service organizations. DMG has been measuring and analyzing worldwide adoption of cloud-based contact center and customer service applications since January 2010. Adoption of cloud-based systems and applications in contact centers has grown from 31.8% in 2010 to 40.9% in 2011 and 62.4% in 2013. This is not to say that all of these enterprises use only cloudbased solutions. But this strong growth trend does demonstrate that the impediments and barriers to adoption are decreasing. These findings are especially significant because the benchmark study participants are highly representative of the contact center world. The study includes participants with contact centers in more than 47 countries and 40 US states. Keeping in mind that a participant could have a contact center in multiple regions, more than 47 countries are represented in the findings. 62.5% of study participants have contact centers in the United States; 12.7% have a presence in the United Kingdom; 7.6% in the Philippines; 7.0% in India; 5.1% in Canada; 3.8% in Brazil and Mexico; 3.2% in Australia; 2.5% in Germany, Ireland and Spain; 1.9% in Belgium, France and South Africa; and 1.3% in -2- © DMG Consulting LLC
  5. 5. China, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Malaysia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway and Portugal. 24 other countries are also represented in this study, each accounting for 0.6%. Companies with contact centers in 40 US states participated in this study. Of those companies with contact centers in the US, 18.9% had at least one site in California; 13.2% had a presence in Florida; 9.4% were in Texas; 6.3% were in Georgia; 5.7% were in New York and Ohio; 5% were in Illinois, Michigan and Utah; 3.8% were in Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina and Wisconsin; 3.1% were in Colorado, Indiana and Pennsylvania; 2.5% were in Connecticut and Minnesota; 1.9% were in Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia and Washington; and 1.3% were in Alabama, Tennessee and Vermont. 7 other states were also represented in the study, each with 0.6%: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island and Wyoming. Respondents with 20 unique job functions participated in this benchmark study, indicating a broad interest in contact center and customer service systems and applications. 17.0% of the participants were contact center vice presidents/directors and managers. The second largest group of participants were from IT, 14.4%. 11.8% of the participants were enterprise senior executives, which is another indication of the importance of this topic in the market. 9.8% were operations managers; 7.2% were sales or marketing vice presidents or managers; 6.5% were line-of-business managers and executives; 5.9% were either contact center senior executives or analysts/researchers; 3.9% were either the chief marketing officer or the chief technology officer/chief information officer; and 1.3% were fundraisers. 8 additional job titles represented in this study were: consultants (2), insurance agent, quality assurance, program officer, trainer, program manager and solutions sales. Contact centers of all sizes participated in this study. The largest group of participants, 36.4%, had 1 – 49 contact center/customer service seats, supporting the belief that the majority of cloud-based contact center/customer service solutions users are in small contact centers. The second largest group of users had 100 – 249 agents, 22.7%. This is believed to be the fastest growing sector for cloud-based contact center/customer service applications. Service environments with 250 – 999 seats were the third largest group of participants, accounting for 20.8% of the responses. Fourth place was attributed to service organizations with 50 – 99 agents, 8.4%. 6.5% of survey respondents operated contact centers with 1,000 – 2,999 seats. And, 5.2% of the study participants had more than 3,000 contact center seats. Although these findings are not surprising, they indicate that a growing number of contact centers with more than 1,000 seats are adopting cloud-based systems and applications. The survey asked: -3- © DMG Consulting LLC
  6. 6. Figure 1: What is your industry? Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 Managers from 23 verticals responded to this study. The high-tech/software industry had the largest number of respondents, 21.9%. Telecommunications was represented by 20.7% of survey participants. 8.3% of respondents were from outsourcers; 7.7% were from financial services, including banking, brokerage and investment management. 6.5% of study responses were from each of the healthcare and the insurance industry (property and casualty, life, health, etc.). Consulting and higher education both accounted for 3.0% of the responses. 2.4% of the participants came from collections, government or travel and hospitality. 1.8% of the respondents were in manufacturing companies. 1.2% of the participants were in companies that do benefits management, consumer products, logistics and utilities/energy. The airlines and fundraising/not-forprofit verticals both accounted for 0.6% of the responses. 4 other industries – Internet marketing, customer service optimization, online gaming and publishing – were accounted for in the Other category; each of these industries represented 0.6% of the responses. -4- © DMG Consulting LLC
  7. 7. III. Benchmarking Results and Leadership Profiles Benchmarking is an effective method of assessing how a contact center compares to others in the market for a specific business function or activity. It is a helpful approach for determining if a company is a leader, follower or laggard in a particular area. This study evaluates the impact of a very trendy topic – cloud-based solutions – on the contact center/customer service world, and distinguishes reality from vendor hype. i. 2014 Contact Center Initiatives and Investment Priorities As part of this study on practices and plans relating to cloud-based contact center/customer service solutions, DMG asked companies to rank their contact center goals and investment priorities for 2014. We have asked similar questions in benchmark studies in the past, in order to track trends and changing business priorities. An important finding from this study is that despite major differences in the worldwide economy, the emergence of social media (which is expected to alter the way that customers and prospects interact with companies), and the availability of cloud-based systems and applications, contact center goals have not changed dramatically. As some believe that the availability of cloud-based contact center/customer service systems and applications alter companies’ investment priorities, this study queried and captured the plans of companies currently using cloud-based solutions separately from those planning to use cloud-based solutions in the next 18 months. The benchmark study found that the number-one goal for both groups is to improve agent productivity. It was ranked as the top goal by 55.8% of all survey respondents, whether they were already using cloud-based solutions or were planning to use them in the next 18 months. (This was also the top goal for contact centers in 2011.) The rest of the top five goals are also the same for both groups, but in varying order. The survey asked: -5- © DMG Consulting LLC
  8. 8. Figure 2: What are your top contact center initiatives planned for the next 18 months? (Select your top three initiatives.) Answer Options Rank for companies that currently host Rank for companies that plan to host Improve agent productivity 1 1 Increase use of self-service 2 3 Add new channels 3 4 Reduce cost of service 4 2 Enhance reporting/analytics 5 2 Achieve consistency of service across 6 8 channels Build a voice of the customer program 7 6 Add Web chat 8 7 Implement at-home agent program 9 5 Implement a social customer care 10 8 program Address regulatory and compliance 11 9 requirements Other 12 8 Note: Other: CTI integration, globalization or "follow the sun" support, and achieving a highavailability environment Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 Figure 2 ranks the responses for the two primary groups analyzed in this benchmark study – those currently using cloud-based contact center systems and applications and others who were planning to use them in the next 18 months. For companies currently using cloud-based solutions, increasing the use of self-service solutions was the second most important goal, as indicated by 45.1% of respondents. Adding new channels, such as short message service (SMS) and social media, was the third top goal for 2014, as reflected by 40.8% of participants. Reducing the cost of service was the fourth most important goal, as reported by 38.0% of respondents. And enhancing reporting/analytics came in fifth place, as reflected by 29.6% of the relevant population. For companies that were planning to use cloud-based solutions in the next 18 months, contact center priorities (goals) were similar to those who are already using cloud-based solutions, but the order was different for numbers 2 to 5. Enhancing reporting/analytics and reducing the cost of service tied for second place, each indicated by 50.0% of respondents. Increasing the use of self-service came in third place with 45.8% of the responses. Adding new channels came in fourth place, with 29.2%. The survey asked: -6- © DMG Consulting LLC
  9. 9. Figure 3: What are your top contact center initiatives planned for the next 18 months? (Select your top three initiatives.) Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 Figure 3 shows the top contact center investment priorities for all respondents combined – those currently using cloud-based solutions as well as those planning to use them in the next 18 months. Building a voice of the customer program and implementing an at-home agent program tied for sixth place, 16.8%. Achieving consistency of service across channels came in seventh place, 15.8%. Adding Web chat was in eighth place, 13.7%. Implementing a social customer care program was the ninth top goal for 2014, as reflected by 10.5% of respondents. Addressing regulatory and compliance requirements was near the bottom of the list, receiving 8.4% of the votes. The Other category came in at 3.2%, and was the lowest ranked category. (Three items fell into Other: CTI integration, globalization or “follow the sun” support, and achieving a high-availability environment.) -7- © DMG Consulting LLC
  10. 10. The survey asked: Figure 4A: What are your organization’s top contact center investment priorities for the next 18 months? (Choose all that apply) (Top 15 applications) Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 -8- © DMG Consulting LLC
  11. 11. Figure 4B: What are your organization’s top contact center investment priorities for the next 18 months? (Choose all that apply) (Top 16 to 30 applications) Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 -9- © DMG Consulting LLC
  12. 12. Survey participants were asked to rank their top contact center initiatives, which are their department goals for 2014. Respondents were then asked to identify their top investment priorities for the next 18 months. The questionnaire provided a detailed list of contact center/customer service systems, applications and channels. As was done for the prior question about contact center initiatives, the study captured the responses of organizations that were already using cloud-based systems separately from those that were planning to adopt this acquisition model in the next 18 months. The objective was to first determine the top contact center investment priorities for 2014 and then to see if the different groups had different investment priorities. 104 respondents answered the question about their organization’s top contact center investment priorities for the next 18 months. Survey participants were encouraged to select all responses that pertained to their operating environment, and were required to indicate if they planned to license (buy) or host the application for each option/application selected. A total of 655 options were selected by the survey participants. Regardless of whether they were already using hosted systems or were anticipating doing so in the next 18 months, a large majority of organizations, 71.3%, planned to acquire the needed capabilities in the cloud. The top contact center investment priorities for 2014 are: 1. Interactive voice response (IVR)/touch-tone – 36.5%; 78.9% plan to use a cloudbased solution 2. Tied for second place: Automatic call distributor (ACD) – 35.6%; 73.0% plan to use a cloud-based solution Computer telephony integration (CTI) – 35.6%; 78.4% plan to use a cloud-based solution Workforce management (WFM) – 35.6%; 70.3% plan to use a cloud-based solution 3. IVR/speech recognition – 34.6%; 69.4% plan to use a cloud-based solution 4. Customer relationship management (CRM) – 29.8%; 58.1% plan to use a cloudbased solution 5. Dialer – 29.8%; 67.7% plan to use a cloud-based solution 6. Web chat – 29.8%; 83.9% plan to use a cloud-based solution 7. Recording – 28.8%; 80.0% plan to use a cloud-based solution - 10 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  13. 13. 8. Quality management – 25.0%; 69.2% plan to use a cloud-based solution 9. Tied for ninth: Email response management (ERM) – 24.0%; 68.0% plan to use a cloud-based solution Performance management – 24.0%; 76.0% plan to use a cloud-based solution Social CRM servicing application – 24.0%; 64.0% plan to use a cloud-based solution 10. Social media listening/monitoring tools – 23.1%; 70.8% plan to use a cloud-based solution Interest in acquiring contact center infrastructure, specifically IVR (touch-tone and speech-enabled), ACD, CTI, CRM and dialer, is at the top of the list; the exception is WFM, which came in second place, along with ACD and CTI (which often go together, as they are interdependent). The market is in the midst of a replacement cycle for contact center infrastructure solutions – ACD, dialer, CTI, IVR and CRM – driven by pent-up demand resulting from highly restricted investment budgets during the last few years, new regulations (to a lesser degree, as indicated in Figure 3 above), and the availability of new cloud-based solutions that are giving companies additional options. When a company buys a new ACD, it is increasingly common to purchase IVR, CTI and recording at the same time, particularly if they are migrating from a time division multiplexing (TDM) environment to Internet Protocol (IP). The interest in updated dialing solutions is a new phenomenon, but one that is overdue. The attention is coming both from companies that have used the same dialer for 10 to 15 years and from first-time users. Workforce management tied for the second top-ranked investment priority for 2014, a position it shares with ACD and CTI solutions. WFM solutions are used by contact centers to forecast the volume of incoming (and possibly outgoing) interactions so that they can determine the number of agents required to handle the volume and create an optimal schedule. In the past three years, new WFM vendors have entered the market, giving end users a variety of new options. Additionally, a majority of WFM solutions are now available in the cloud, making it easier for enterprises to invest in and implement WFM. Figure 5 shows an alternative view of the same data shown in Figures 4A and 4B. It shows 2014 investment priorities and how companies are planning to acquire each of the applications. This chart makes it clear that hosting is the preferred acquisition model for all of the contact center applications included in this Figure. With few exceptions, the proportion intending to host new applications ranges from 64% to 80%+. - 11 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  14. 14. Figure 5: Acquision Model for Planned Contact Center Applications Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 - 12 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  15. 15. DMG’s Leader Profile: 2014 Contact Center Initiatives and Investment Priorities Leading organizations use a formal planning process to identify and communicate their annual goals and the investment priorities needed to achieve their objectives. In many cases, these companies employ a 3- to 5-year planning cycle, although investment decisions for the later years are fluid and are expected to change. The challenge with these processes is that they occasionally become overwhelming and take up too much time. If the process is not managed properly, employees can spend too much time planning and not enough time implementing the changes and investments. DMG expects 2014 to be the best year for making contact center investments since the end of the great recession of 2008 - 2009. The United States is on its way to economic recovery. Latin America is moving nicely and picking up momentum. Africa is growing rapidly, as is Asia/Pacific. The Middle East and Western Europe are expected to outperform 2013, and Eastern Europe continues to come on strong. The worldwide economic recovery, product innovation and new regulatory requirements, along with a continued desire to reduce risk, are driving a new round of contact center investments. The top goals in contact centers in 2014 are many of the same goals companies have been striving to address for years. Improving agent productivity is back to being the number-one goal. The next four goals are all means to achieve increased productivity – specifically, increasing the use of self-service applications, reducing the cost of service, adding new channels, and enhancing reporting/analytics. Top contact center investment priorities for 2014 are tied to enterprise plans for the year. Implementing or enhancing an IVR, the top investment priority for 2014, improves agent productivity, increases the use of self-service solutions, and reduces the cost of service. Implementing a new ACD, CTI, dialer, WFM application or CRM solution are investments that should also improve agent productivity while enhancing the customer experience. These investments, along with the new channels and enhanced reporting and analytics, should help companies improve the customer journey by increasing visibility and providing methods of measuring how well an organization and its staff performs every step of the way. It’s essential for contact center leaders to align the goals of their department with those of the enterprise. Here are best practices for identifying contact center initiatives and priorities: 1. Contact center leaders should stay abreast of their enterprise goals. They should establish a formal process to obtain this information, if one does not already - 13 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  16. 16. exist in the company. (The best-managed corporations have a formal process for setting and sharing corporate goals on an ongoing basis.) 2. Create a process for sharing enterprise goals with all department employees, including managers, supervisors and agents. Everyone in the contact center should be familiar with the company’s goals and objectives. 3. Set up a contact center goal-setting process, and involve all department managers. The process can be formal or informal, but giving all managers an opportunity to share their needs will enhance engagement, teamwork and department performance. 4. Teach managers how to build a business case, including financial return on investment (ROI) models, to justify investments. It’s a highly effective way of helping managers prioritize needs, and explains why some investments get approved while others are rejected. 5. Obtain enterprise investment approval guidelines, and share them with all managers so that they can use them for building their business case. 6. Compile a list of all department goals and investment priorities recommended by managers. Using the business cases and ROI models, prioritize the investments. 7. Establish a process for reviewing and modifying the department’s goals and for enhancing each team member’s goals on a quarterly basis. 8. Work with human resources to establish an incentive and compensation system that rewards outstanding performance and achievement of goals. Transitioning to Being a Leader in Identifying Contact Center Initiatives and Investment Priorities It’s essential for all employees, and particularly for all customer-facing staff, to be aware of enterprise and sales goals and objectives, and what is expected of each of them individually at all times. This knowledge will enable them to do the right things, even when policy and processes are not clear or known. It can be tough for employees in a contact center to keep abreast of this information, as agents must often skip companywide meetings because they cannot be spared from the phone. The less ambiguous the goals and expectations, the better chance the department has of achieving them. - 14 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  17. 17. Therefore, a goal for all contact center managers should be to know their enterprise’s goals and communicate them to their staff. ii. Contact Center Applications and Channels All of the companies that participated in this study operate contact centers that use a variety of applications and channels to assist customers. There is a great deal of discussion regarding the proliferation of channels in contact centers and the pace of adoption. This study analyzes this issue and identifies which contact center applications and systems are being used and whether they were purchased or hosted. The survey asked: Figure 6: Are you using any cloud-based systems or applications in your contact center or customer service department? Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 62.4% of survey participants were already using at least one cloud-based contact center system or application. - 15 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  18. 18. The survey asked: Figure 7: When are you planning to implement a cloud-based system or application in your contact center? Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 Among the 37.6% who were not yet using a hosted solution, 45.6% were planning to move in this direction within the next 18 months, 15.8% within 6 months, 8.8% within 7 to 12 months, and 21.1% within 13 to 18 months. While the results in Figure 6 show that a large percentage, 62.4%, of contact centers are now using some type of cloud-based system or application, the rapid pace of adoption over the last three years is impressive. Adoption has grown from 31.8% in January 2010 to 40.9% in November 2011 to 62.4% in October 2013. - 16 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  19. 19. Figure 8: Are you using any hosted/cloud-based systems or applications in your customer service department or contact center? Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 The survey asked: - 17 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  20. 20. Figure 9: Which cloud-based contact center systems or applications are you currently using? Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 This benchmark study shows that the adoption of cloud-based solutions in contact centers and customer service departments is not a passing fad. This is evidenced by the breadth of cloud-based solutions used by enterprises. The survey found that a large number of contact center solutions were being acquired via the cloud-based model. - 18 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  21. 21. ACD was the top-ranked cloud-based contact center solution; it was utilized by 60.0% of companies that were using a cloud-based contact center application. Recording was in second place, used by 52.2% of organizations. CTI was in third place, as indicated by 51.1% of survey respondents who were using cloud-based solutions. Touch-tone-based IVR, used by 50.0% of survey participants, was in fourth place. CRM applications came in fifth place and were being used in the cloud by 38.9% of study participants. Web chat applications were in sixth place, as reflected by 35.6% of respondents. Dialers came in seventh place with 32.2%. Quality management came in eighth place with 28.9%. Email response management solutions came in ninth place with 24.4%; and speech-enabled IVR tied with surveying for tenth place with 23.3%. When the two IVR options – touchtone and speech-enabled – are combined, this category becomes the most used, as reflected by 73.3% of respondents. This is not surprising, given that IVR solutions have been available in the cloud longer than most other contact center solutions. The survey asked: Figure 10: What channels does your contact center currently support? (Select all that apply) Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 - 19 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  22. 22. Figure 11: What channels does your contact center currently support? (Select all that apply) Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 There has been so much discussion in the market about the need to build multi-channel contact centers, as well as the impact of social media on traditional call volume. This study queried participants to quantify and measure both of these opportunities. It also assessed the channel activities of enterprises that were using premise-based contact center solutions separately from those that were using the cloud, to determine if the channels that were being used had an effect on the choice of delivery mechanism. Figures 10 and 11 make it clear that voice remains the dominant channel, as it was used by 97.1% of respondents. Also significant is the fact that only 3 organizations do not support voice calls. Email is the second most common channel used in contact centers, as indicated by 90.4% of respondents. However, 50 participants indicated that they did not provide email support in their contact centers. Web chat is the third most common contact center channel, as reflected by 66.3% of respondents. 35 organizations indicated that they were not using web chat. Web self-service is the fourth most common servicing channel, at 47.1%. 55 organizations said that they did not offer Web - 20 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  23. 23. self-service functionality to their customers. IM came in fifth; 41.3% of organizations supported IM, although 61 organizations did not use this channel. Facebook is in sixth place; 37.5% of organizations supported this channel, but 65 organizations did not offer it to their customers and prospects. Short message service (SMS) was in seventh place, as reflected by 35.6% of the participants. 67 organizations did not support SMS. Twitter was in eighth place, supported by 34.6% of organizations surveyed, although 68 organizations did not use it. Mobile applications were used by 34.6% of organizations, and were tied with Twitter for eighth place, although 68 organizations were not offering this channel to their customers. Video was in ninth place, used by 20.2% of organizations. However, 83 organizations had not yet adopted this channel. Social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, were being used by a substantial number of servicing organizations, 37.5% and 34.6%, respectively. The number that support mobile applications is the same as for Twitter, 34.6%. Video remains a highly limited channel, as is reflected by its last place finish in these channel usage charts and the relatively small proportion of organization that were using it, 20.2%. The split between users of premise-based and hosted technology is telling, and another indication of the rapid adoption of cloud-based solutions. These numbers also say a great deal about the audience that elected to participate in this study – clearly, this is a cloud-centric group of participants. There are substantially more voice-based contact centers currently deployed around the world than cloud-based solutions, yet the survey findings indicate otherwise. The study indicated that only 45.5% of respondents were using a premise-based voice ACD, versus 54.5% that were using a cloud-based solution to provide their voice channel. Based on DMG Consulting research, the worldwide adoption rate of cloud-based contact center solutions was 5.9% as of the end of 2011, and is projected to be 10.6% as of the end of 2013. While these findings are slanted for some channels, this does not appear to be the case for others. The majority of contact centers that use Web chat host this functionality, as reflected by the 76.8% of companies that supported this channel. 52.1% of organizations that used email for support used a cloud-based solution, while 47.9% of organizations had invested in a premise-based solution. For Web self-service applications, 55.1% were using a premise-based application and 44.9% hosted this functionality. IM was supported by a premise-based application for 39.5% of organizations, and 60.5% were using a cloud-based offering. SMS had a similar usage pattern: 40.5% of organizations had purchased a premise-based application and 59.5% were using a hosted solution. The results for the two social media channels, Facebook and Twitter, are interesting and indicative of market direction. Neither of these channels has a solution that can be purchased, which makes their results confusing, as 33.3% of Facebook users indicated that they used a premise-based application, as did 38.9% of Twitter users. What this - 21 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  24. 24. must mean is that these organizations were using a premise-based servicing application to respond to customer feedback, comments and posts received via Facebook and Twitter. Organizations that used mobile applications were split between on-premise and cloudbased applications; 47.2% used premise-based technology while 52.8% were using cloud-based functionality to deliver support in this channel. Video was the least adopted channel; it is still considered unknown and risky by a majority of contact centers, which explains its low adoption rate. 61.9% of organizations that used video had purchased premise-based solutions, versus 38.1% that were using a cloud-based delivery vehicle. The study asked: Figure 12: What channels do you plan to add within the next 18 months? (Select all that apply) Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 - 22 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  25. 25. Figure 12 separates the number of respondents that plan to add each of the channels by deployment model: on-premise or in the cloud. It also highlights the percentage of respondents that plan to add the channel in the cloud. 86.4% of organizations planned to add Web chat in the cloud. Voice was second place with 84.4%. IM and Twitter were in third place with 82.4%. Facebook was in fourth place with 81.3%. SMS and Web selfservice tied for fifth place with 80.4%. Mobile and email tied for sixth place with 79.5%; and video came in last place with 66.7%. This Figure shows the impact of Millennials on enterprises; digital channels, including SMS, Web self-service, mobile applications, email, IM, Twitter and Facebook, are all expected to grow substantially in the near future. Voice as a servicing channel is not seeing the same high rate of growth it experienced in prior years, but is still a primary servicing channel that is growing. Video remains an emerging channel; while it has many potential uses, it is still viewed as optional, with limited use and value. There is a great deal of hype in the market about video, but corporations are clearly not signing up for it, as yet. A majority of organizations are planning to add one or two channels to their service organization during the next 18 months. And if they are going to add a channel, it is likely, in the 80% range, that they plan to use cloud-based technology. Of the 369 channels that survey participants were planning to install in the next 18 months, 81.3% are expected to be in the cloud, while only 18.7% are anticipated to be premise-based. The survey asked: - 23 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  26. 26. Figure 13: What channels does your contact center currently support and what do you plan to add in the next 18 months? (Select all that apply) Currently support Premise Cloud Total Supported Do Not Support Premise Cloud Total Supported Do Not Plan to Support Total Current and Planned Channels Voice 46 55 101 3 5 27 32 69 133 14.9% Email 45 49 94 50 6 29 35 66 129 14.4% Web chat 16 53 69 35 6 39 45 56 114 12.7% Web self-service 27 22 49 55 9 37 46 55 95 10.6% SMS 15 22 37 67 9 37 46 55 83 9.3% Mobile 17 19 36 68 9 35 44 57 80 8.9% IM 17 26 43 61 6 28 34 67 77 8.6% Facebook 13 26 39 65 6 26 32 69 71 7.9% Twitter 14 22 36 68 6 28 34 67 70 7.8% Video 13 8 21 83 7 14 21 80 42 4.7% Other 0 1 1 78 0 0 0 0 1 0.1% Total 223 303 526 633 69 300 369 641 Answer Options Plan to support in 18 months % Current and Planned Channels Other: Fax - cloud-based Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 - 24 © DMG Consulting LLC
  27. 27. Figure 14: What are the top contact center servicing channels for the next 18 months? Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 Figures 13 and 14 provide a different perspective on current channel usage and anticipated adoption in the next 18 months. These Figures make it clear that voice remains the primary servicing channel in contact centers around the world, and that this is expected to be the case throughout 2014, despite the growing number of organizations that are not planning to use this channel in their support organization. Voice accounts for 14.9% of all supported and planned contact center channels. eMail is the second most common contact center channel, 14.4%. Web chat is in third place with 12.7% of all current and planned channels. Web self-service is in fourth place, 10.6%; short message service is in fifth place, 9.3%; mobile applications are in sixth place, 8.9%; Instant Message is in seventh place, 8.6%; Facebook is in eighth place, 7.9%; Twitter is in ninth place, 7.8%; and video is in tenth and last place at 4.7%. - 25 - © DMG Consulting LLC © DMG Consulting LLC
  28. 28. DMG’s Leader Profile: Contact Center Applications and Channels Enterprises need to build servicing environments that can communicate with customers in their channel of choice. This gets complicated, as the media via which customers want to interact can change throughout the day or by interaction. A prospect may begin their journey on a website and, if a company is lucky, end up in a successful sales call with a live agent. Contact centers need technology and tools that enable them to address their prospects’ or customers’ needs every step of the way. Companies also need systems and applications that allow them to analyze every aspect of the customer journey so that they can identify ways to enhance the customer experience while improving productivity and reducing operating expenses. As contact centers are typically peopleintensive organizations, as are the back-office operating areas that support them, having systems and applications that position them to handle large volumes of interactions effectively is essential for the bottom line of the company and the success of the department. Building a multi-channel contact center is not an option; it is a strategic imperative that is complicated by the ongoing introduction of new channels. As recently as three years ago, it was acceptable for a contact center to support just two channels, voice and email. But this is no longer the case. Leading contact centers ask their customers what channels they want to use, and then provide the necessary support. The more common channels that customers expect to be available are: voice (live agent and interactive voice response), email, SMS, Web self-service, Facebook, Twitter and mobile applications. Leading organizations also interact with customers on both an inbound and outbound basis, as proactive customer care is a highly effective method of building and maintaining relationships with customers. While at a minimum only an ACD that can route and queue interactions is required to run a contact center, there can be as many as 45 different applications and systems in these highly sophisticated operating environments. The specific needs of an organization vary based on the purpose and function of their contact center, but there are foundational components that should be included in most, if not all contact centers. These include an ACD or dialer to receive or place calls or other types of interactions; a voice prompter or interactive voice response system to automate the handling of calls; some form of customer relationship management (CRM) or servicing application to use to resolve and track customer inquiries or sales; workforce management to forecast the volume of interactions and then schedule the properly skilled resources to handle them; recording to capture all inbound and outbound interactions; and quality assurance to determine if agents are adhering to internal policies and procedures. The rest of the systems and applications used by the organization are optional and potentially - 26 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  29. 29. differentiating. Analytics is expected to play an essential role in the future of contact centers, which can make excellent use of these “big data” solutions to capture and analyze massive amounts of data about the customer journey. See Figure 15. Companies can now obtain technology and tools using a variety of acquisition models; they can purchase a license and implement it themselves, use cloud-based solutions, buy a managed service offering, or use a combination of all of these models. Companies now have more choices than ever before, and are no longer limited by their capital budgets. Figure 15: Contact Center Technology, Systems and Applications Voice Web Email Fax Social Media Mobile MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS SERVICING APPLICATIONS Recording Quality Assurance VOC/Surveying CRM Suites Perform Mgt Speech Analytics eLearn/Coach Text Analytics Desktop Analytics WFM Cust Svc Apps Campaign Mgt Sys IT Help Desk Collections Switching Fabric CTI ACD/Route/Queue Dialer/Campaign Mgt ENABLING/ COMMON APPS. Middleware Workflow CORE SYSTEMS Telesales/Telemktg SMS/ Chat VoIP/SIP TDM Integration Security IVR/Speech Rec Network Mgmt Universal Queue Databases UC / Presence Voicemail Messaging Data Marts Field Svc & Dispatch Config Engine SUPPORTING SYSTEMS SFA Knowledge Mgt eService Suite ERMs Mkt Encyclop Social C/S Apps Web Self Svc Chat/SMS Collaboration Content Mgt Scripting Letter Writing Voice Biometrics ERP/Supply Chain Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 - 27 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  30. 30. Here are best practices for building a leading multi-channel contact center: 1. Assess and enhance your company’s servicing strategy and vision. Customer expectations have been greatly altered by social media and the rapid pace of digital communications. At the same time, the systems and tools available to enterprises have improved dramatically, greatly altering and improving an organization’s ability to deliver great service cost effectively. 2. Secure a senior executive sponsor to support the new vision. Service organizations of the future are not going to limited by the same boundaries as traditional contact centers. The role of front- and back-office employees is changing, enabling companies to deliver better service at each customer touch point. Changing an organization’s service culture will require support from the top. 3. Determine which channels to support and the order in which they need to be introduced. Adding channels is complicated and requires training, substantial changes in policies and procedures, and new technology investments. Prioritize channels based on the needs of your customers and prospects. 4. Re-design your telephony environment to support your “contact center of the future.” This should be done as part of a unified communications initiative. The enabling technology and applications do not have to be on-site to be effective. 5. Identify the technology, systems and applications that are needed to build your contact center of the future. Perform a technology gap analysis to identify the systems and applications required to transform your operating environment into a flexible multi-channel contact center that is positioned to meet the needs of your customers. 6. Determine how to remove service barriers. Conduct a far-reaching operational gap analysis that identifies the changes required to enhance and optimize your service and support organization. 7. Build the business cases to support the changes. Identify the benefits and challenges involved in transforming your contact center into a next-generation servicing environment. 8. Draft a roadmap that lays out the steps for success. Detail all of the steps in the transformation process, and get buy-in from all relevant departments. Socialize the initiative widely throughout the company, as it will likely have far-reaching impacts and benefits. - 28 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  31. 31. Transitioning to Being a Leading User of Contact Center Applications and Channels The current generation of contact center systems and applications can dramatically alter the performance of many service environments. Sophisticated and flexible routing and workflow solutions enable timely resolution of customer issues. Real-time applications provide managers with data that may have taken a week to obtain in the past. And analytics provides knowledge and perspective that was not previously available. Leading organizations should immediately implement a customer journey initiative that enables them to capture, analyze, improve and track the performance of all departments that touch or impact customers. The output of this analysis (which should be performed on an ongoing basis) will help to break down organizational barriers that have negatively impacted service delivery and the cost of support. Implementation of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) will help to eliminate voice and data silos and allow applications previously limited to contact centers, such as recording and quality assurance, to be used in other operating areas. If properly designed, SIP can also significantly reduce carrier costs and enhance the entire service infrastructure of the corporation through the introduction of presence, a technology that improves the immediacy of business interactions. Service leaders appreciate the need to build and implement a social customer care program that is integrated with their traditional contact centers, to ensure that all corporate responses are provided in the same voice. At the same time, companies should use proactive customer care programs so that they can easily interact with customers in their channel of choice on an outbound basis. Leading contact centers of the future will be positioned to absorb additional channels and applications as the need arises. They will be constantly looking for ways to improve their own performance as well as that of other departments and business partners, activities that will be enabled by performance management solutions that provide quantifiable metrics and KPIs. - 29 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  32. 32. iii: Cloud Solution Drivers, Concerns and Satisfaction A confluence of events is altering the contact center technical and operational landscape. An important contributor to these changes is the introduction of a broad range of new contact center systems and applications. All categories of contact center or customer service applications are now available in the cloud. More importantly, the cloud-based delivery model has created new opportunities for vendors to enter and successfully compete in the market, something that had become somewhat cost prohibitive in some of the major technology categories, such as ACDs, dialers and CRM applications. The survey asked: Figure 16: Why did you purchase a cloud-based contact center solution? (Please choose all that apply.) Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 - 30 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  33. 33. Among current users of cloud-based contact center solutions, 66.3% were attracted by the ease of scaling up and down. 59.3% of responses cited the desire to avoid a major capital investment. 47.7% of survey participants wanted to decrease their total cost of ownership. 45.3% were intent on decreasing their reliance on internal IT resources. 41.9% hoped to take advantage of the ongoing technology refresh without additional investment or a forklift upgrade. 40.7% of respondents wanted the ability to handle virtual and geographically dispersed locations and at-home agents. Supporting enterprise disaster recovery and business continuity requirements was a driver for 39.5% of participants. 34.9% of companies that currently hosted were hoping to acquire an improved feature set. 29.1% of organizations invested in cloud-based contact center solutions to avoid a long-term capital investment. 24.4% of companies purchased a cloud-based contact center solution to benefit from the solution breadth. This is tightly tied to the answer about improved product feature set, which came in seventh place. 22.1% of respondents were looking for improved reliability/system up-time. Ability to integrate with third-party applications was a priority for 18.6% of study participants; the ability to integrate with other cloud and premise-based applications remains a differentiator, and DMG expects to see significant investment in this area by leading cloud-based vendors in the next three to five years. 15.1% of organizations selected a specific vendor due to their reputation. 14.0% were interested in the vendor’s ability to perform custom integrations. 11.6% of respondents were interested in security and ease of doing business with a vendor. And only 4.6% of respondents purchased a cloud-based contact center solution due to the vendor’s experience in meeting their vertical/niche requirements. The survey asked: - 31 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  34. 34. Figure 17: Why have you decided to implement a cloud-based contact center solution? (Please choose all that apply.) Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 This question was asked of companies that planned to implement a cloud-based solution in the next 18 months. This group of responders was given the same list of benefits that was presented to survey participants who said that they were planning to host in the next 18 months. The top answer to this question, selected by 60.7% of respondents who were planning to host, was to decrease reliance on internal IT resources. The second most common response, as reflected by 57.1% of the participants, was to benefit from ongoing technology refresh, without additional investments and forklifts. The desire to avoid a major capital investment was the third most common response, 53.6%, among companies planning to host. 50.0% of responses selected - 32 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  35. 35. breadth of the solution, the fourth most commonly anticipated benefit. Decreasing total cost of ownership, disaster recovery/business continuity, and ease of scaling up and down came in with a three-way tie for fifth place, as reflected by 46.4% of responses. Improved feature set was the sixth most commonly expected benefit, 42.9%. Ability to handle virtual and geographically dispersed locations and at-home agents ranked seventh, 35.7%. Ability to integrate with third-party applications and avoidance of a long-term capital investment tied for eighth place, 28.6%. Improving system reliability and up-time performance was in ninth place, 25.0%. Security was in tenth place, 21.4%. Eleventh place was shared by ability to perform custom integrations and ease of doing business with a vendor. Vendor reputation was in twelfth place, 3.6%, and no one selected experience in meeting vertical/niche expertise. The survey asked: Figure 18: What are/were your biggest concerns when considering a cloud-based contact center solution? (Choose all that apply.) Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 - 33 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  36. 36. Figure 19: What are/were your biggest concerns when considering a cloud-based contact center solution? (Choose all that apply.) Answer Options Security Dependence on vendors Ability of vendor to meet SLA requirements Platform reliability/up-time Connectivity and dependability of carriers Network bandwidth and reliability Quality of Service (QoS) Total cost of ownership Ease of integration with third-party applications Location of data centers Disaster recover/business continuity Loss of control Financial viability of the vendor Ability to administer system in-house Ongoing maintenance and support Breadth of system features and functionality Other Rank for companies that currently host 1 2 Rank for companies that plan to host in next 18 months 1 2 2 3 3 4 5 6 7 4 9 5 4 7 8 4 9 10 10 11 12 12 9 6 4 10 8 9 13 7 N/A 11 Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 The benchmark study asked this question separately for companies currently hosting and those that planned to host in the next 18 months. The results are combined in Figure 18. Security remains the number one concern among companies who are hosting and those that plan to host, 48.0%. This category was rated as a top concern by close to half of all participants in this study. Dependence on vendors was the second-ranked concern for companies, 43.0%. Ability of vendor to meet SLA requirements came in third place, 42.0%. Platform reliability/up-time came in fourth place, 39.0%. However, if this category is merged with the one above, ability of vendor to meet SLA requirements, it will have been prioritized by 81.0% of respondents, making it the top concern about moving to the cloud. This is an issue that organizations around the world should note; its prominence in the responses clearly indicates that it is an area of weakness for cloudbased contact center vendors. (DMG’s ongoing research into the cloud-based contact center infrastructure market confirms that platform reliability either is or has been a - 34 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  37. 37. serious issue for most of the vendors as they mature, and is therefore an area that differentiates the offerings.) Network bandwidth and reliability came in fifth place, 34.0%. Quality of Service (QoS) came in sixth place, 33.0%. Connectivity and dependability of carriers came in seventh place, 32.0%. Ease of integration with third-party applications came in eighth place, 31.0%. Total cost of ownership was number nine in the list of top concerns about moving to the cloud, as reflected by 29.0% of the responses. Loss of control came in tenth place, 25.0%. However, taken together with the second-top-ranked concern about cloud solutions, dependence on vendors, these combined related categories increase in prominence to 68.0%, making this an important area of apprehension for end-user organizations. This should make it clear to vendors that they need to allay these concerns by offering relevant programs. Disaster recovery/business continuity is the eleventh area of concern, 23.0%. Location of data centers came in twelfth, 21.0%. Ability to administer the system in-house was in thirteenth place, noted in 18.0% of the combined responses. Three categories tied for last place, 17.0%: financial viability of the vendor, ongoing maintenance and support, and breadth of system features and functionality. Financial viability is much more relevant when licensing an application, as the acquirer typically makes a five-year financial commitment and needs to be sure that the vendor will remain in business for this entire period. With cloud vendors, the arrangement is often pay-as-you-go, and users are mostly at risk for the cost of transferring their operation to a competitor's system. Figure 19 shows the ranking of answers to the question regarding top concerns about moving into the cloud for the two groups, companies that currently host and those that plan to in the next 18 months. These findings reveal interesting inconsistencies when compared to the cloud-based purchase drivers in Figures 16 and 17. Security is the topranked concern about moving to the cloud for all organizations, yet it was one of the lowest ranked drivers of the decision to purchase a cloud-based contact center infrastructure solution. This is an important disconnect that prospects of these solutions should explore. It indicates that security remains an area of strong concern for users of cloud-based solutions. Dependence on vendors was the second biggest concern among users and prospects of cloud-based solutions. Ability to meet SLA requirements tied as the second-place concern for companies currently using cloud-based contact center solutions, and came in third place for companies that planned to use these solutions in the next 18 months. Platform reliability was the third-ranked concern about using cloudbased solutions for all current users; potential users of this acquisition model ranked it fourth. The high ranking of this category is an indication that platform performance remains an area where the vendors need to make improvements. Connectivity and dependability of carriers ranked as the fourth most important concern among current users of cloud-based solutions, but came in ninth place for companies - 35 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  38. 38. that plan to host. DMG cautions prospects of these solutions to pay close attention to the ratings assigned by current users of cloud-based solutions. This category was ranked high as a concern because connectivity and dependability have proven to be challenging in cloud-based contact center infrastructure implementations. Network bandwidth and reliability was ranked in fifth place for both current and prospective users. Quality of Service (QoS) was the sixth top concern for current users, and in fourth place for prospects. This is an indication that QoS is less of an issue than anticipated. However, users and prospects alike are cautioned to perform a formal QoS assessment of their operating environment prior to implementing a cloud-based contact center solution, to ensure that they have the necessary bandwidth to handle the incremental traffic. (If not, address this requirement prior to implementing the solution.) Total cost of ownership was ranked seventh by current users and prospects. Ease of integrating with third-party applications came in eighth place for current users, and tied as the fourth-place concern for prospects. DMG is seeing a trend where more companies want their cloud-based contact center application vendors to be able to perform integrations. Location of data centers ranked number 9 for current users and for companies that plan to migrate some of their solutions to the cloud. Disaster recovery/business continuity tied as the tenth-rated concern for current users, and ranked number 6 among prospects. Loss of control also came in tenth place for current users, but was in fourth place for prospects. Financial viability was near the bottom of the list for both current users and prospects; it was ranked 11 and 10, respectively. Ability to administer the cloud-based solution inhouse (by themselves) was not a high priority for either current or perspective cloudbased users. It came in twelfth place for current users and eighth place for companies that were planning to invest in cloud-based solutions. Ongoing maintenance and support tied for twelfth place for current users, and tied for ninth place for prospective users. Breadth of system features and functionality came in last place, ranked thirteenth for current users but tied for seventh place for companies that planned to acquire a cloud-based solution in the next 18 months. These findings make it clear that the priorities of prospective users of cloud-based contact center solutions are similar to those of the current group of users. The survey asked: - 36 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  39. 39. Figure 20: What are the top challenges in dealing with your cloud-based contact center vendors? (Please choose all that apply.) Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 The study delved deeper into end-user concerns by asking the companies currently using cloud-based contact center solutions to identify their top technical and operational challenges in dealing with their vendors. Figure 20 provides these insights, which logically map to concerns about the vendors. The top challenge is platform reliability, as reflected by 32.9% of responses. This issue is near the top of the list of concerns, as well as being the number-one challenge in working with a cloud-based contact center vendor. The survey findings indicate that this is an area where prospects need to pay a great deal of attention when making a selection. It is also an area that current users and prospects should address when negotiating their contract. The vendors will want to avoid this topic, but it’s one that is worth the effort, as it can make or break an implementation. Responsiveness to change requests and inability to perform custom integrations tied for second place in this category, each representing 26.3% of the responses. These tie back - 37 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  40. 40. to concerns about dependence on vendors, as shown in Figure 18. Companies that are accustomed to managing their own contact center applications need to adapt to their vendor’s way of doing business when migrating to cloud-based solutions. This is an important consideration, as some vendors are more responsive than internal IT teams, and others are not. SLAs should be put in place to address responsiveness to change requests, to ensure that end-user and vendor expectations are clear and can be met. Add-on fees came in third place, 25.0%. One-fourth of all cloud-based contact center application users were seriously displeased with their vendor’s approach to additional fees. Due to the competitiveness of the cloud-based contact center infrastructure market, many vendors low-ball their prices in an attempt to win business, and after closing the deal they demand additional fees for services that the client thought were included in the base pricing. This is a general problem with software acquisitions, and a common complaint. Prospects need to be aware of this issue and should spend the time to make sure that they have identified all needed functionality and costs prior to signing their contract. Inability to integrate with third-party applications came in fourth place, 18.4%. This is not a surprise for the cloud-based market, and is a capability that some of the vendors are striving to strengthen. As indicated above, this is an area of differentiation between the vendors. Lack of contact center expertise came in a strong but disappointing fifth place, 15.8%. The good news is that the percentage is relatively low, which means that many of the vendors have staff resources who know how these systems work, as well as best practices for helping organizations roll them out and succeed in using them. Pace of innovation was in sixth place, 14.5%. Product capabilities came in seventh place, 13.2%. Offering a cloud-based solution with the promise that all upgrades are included does not necessarily mean that the product is feature-rich or updated frequently. This is the case for most of the cloud-based markets, not just contact centers. Scalability ranked number eight in the list of challenges; however, the percentage of users that selected this category was only 11.8%. Billing was identified as an area of concern by 7.9% of the respondents. Customer service and support was a challenge for 6.6% of the responses, as was provisioning, the ordering process for cloud-based contact center solutions. And it was good to see that some respondents did not have any concerns, 9.2%. The study asked: - 38 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  41. 41. Figure 21: Please rate your satisfaction level with your cloud-based contact center solution provider in each of the following categories: Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 The study asked users of cloud-based contact center systems and applications to rate their high-level satisfaction with seven major categories: implementation, training, system upgrades, innovation, responsiveness, pricing and service and support. The primary finding is that the satisfaction results are lukewarm. On average, end users are neither very negative nor particularly pleased about any aspect of their relationships with their cloud-based vendors. Respondents were asked to use a five-point scale, where 5 was most satisfied and 1 was least satisfied. The weighted score tells the story. The weighted averages ranged from a high of 3.6 for the implementation to a low of 3.2 for ongoing service and support. A majority of the responses – system training, innovation, responsiveness and pricing – - 39 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  42. 42. were in the 3.3 range. This Figure makes it clear that the vendors have a great deal of work to do in all satisfaction categories. The survey asked: Figure 22: Please rate your satisfaction level with your cloud-based contact center solution in each of the following categories: Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 As was the case with the high-level satisfaction categories in the Figure above, the satisfaction scores that drilled down into the specifics were also just lukewarm. Respondents who were currently using cloud-based solutions were asked to evaluate the performance of their cloud-based contact center systems and application provider in 13 areas: ease of use, scalability, agent interface, supervisor interface, platform reliability/availability, security, breadth of offerings, robustness of feature set and functionality, multi-channel capabilities, disaster recovery/business continuity, - 40 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  43. 43. value/cost of ownership, and reporting and analytics. The rating scale was the same as above, where a five was the high score and one the low. End users were most satisfied with ease of use and system scalability, 3.8. However, ease of use is not an important investment driver, as discussed above. Scalability also received a satisfaction score of 3.8. Agent interface came in second place with a weighted score of 3.7. Supervisor interface was down slightly with a rating of 3.6. Platform reliability and security received scores of 3.5. Six categories – breadth of functionality, robustness of feature set and functionality, multi-channel capabilities, integration capabilities, disaster recovery/business continuity, and value/cost of ownership – all received a very lukewarm satisfaction score of 3.4. Reporting and analytics came in at the bottom with an average satisfaction score of 3.2. These results show a barely acceptable level of satisfaction with essential elements of cloud-based contact center solutions. They also show some similarities to satisfaction levels with premise-based applications. For example, this is the case for reporting and analytics, which frequently rank low for satisfaction and value/cost of ownership. Since the cloud-based contact center systems and application market is growing rapidly, the low satisfaction scores are somewhat acceptable, albeit disappointing. Improving customer satisfaction is a goal that all of the vendors should strive to achieve, particularly as the cloud-based contact center application sectors are crowded and end users have many vendor choices. DMG’s Leader Profile: Cloud-Based Contact Center Concerns, Challenges and Satisfaction The cloud-based contact center systems and applications market is relatively new, which explains the low satisfaction scores and serious concerns and challenges facing this market, though it does not justify them. The cloud-based contact center infrastructure concept is highly compelling and is attracting the attention of users from contact centers of all sizes. However, because cloud-based customers are not typically tied into a contract for more than one year and many are on a month-to-month basis, these vendors will have to figure out how to greatly improve their satisfaction ratings across all categories if they want to keep their clients. Specifically, the findings in this benchmark study point out many of the areas where improvements would be greatly appreciated by end-user organizations. End users are attracted by the flexible and scalable cloud-based acquisition model, but as is always the case, they want secure, functionally rich applications that perform without disruption, are easy to use and integrate, and come with ongoing innovation. - 41 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  44. 44. They also want to deal with vendors that use fair pricing models so that they are not faced with surprises and unexpected extra costs. Leading users of cloud-based contact center systems and applications are already increasing their expectations of vendors. Early on in the adoption cycle, for example, lack of integration with third-party applications was acceptable, as was the slow pace of innovation. This is no longer the case. A review of the decision drivers for cloud-based solutions makes it clear that prospects and customers expect solid, dependable and reliable solutions that are very secure and supported by highly qualified resources. Best practices for succeeding with a cloud-based contact center implementation are: 1. Put everything in writing. Once a vendor is selected, they will be in a huge rush to get your organization into production. Do not get pulled into the vendor’s urgency. Be sure to address all technical and operational concerns prior to signing the contract, just as you would with a premise-based vendor. 2. Identify needed integrations, customizations and additional functionality during the selection process. Carefully assess the selected platform to be sure that it can do everything that is required. If it cannot, document the required changes and include them with their delivery time frame in your contract. Since most cloudbased vendors prefer standardization, they are not readily able to handle customizations. So, expect custom work to take time and carry a substantial cost. 3. Carefully evaluate the security features of the application. Early in the selection process, involve IT and your data security people to determine if the cloud-based contact center solution meets your organization’s security guidelines. 4. Perform a network assessment to ensure that you have the proper bandwidth. Conduct a formal network capability assessment to make sure that your data network can support additional activity. If it does not have the necessary capacity or it seems to be borderline, add the bandwidth prior to beginning the implementation. 5. Pay careful attention to the service level agreements. Just because the vendor has used an SLA successfully with other companies does not mean that it will address your specific needs. Review the vendor's standard SLAs and ask for modifications, if they’re essential to your company. However, if you ask for something extra, be prepared to pay for it. 6. Carefully assess the dependability and reliability of the vendor’s delivery platform and data center(s) prior to finalizing your selection. Most of the cloud-based contact center infrastructure vendors (and many other application vendors) have experienced platform issues as they have learned to scale their solutions. (There - 42 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  45. 45. is a steep learning curve that most vendors do not anticipate.) Ask the vendors for their performance statistics. Check how frequently they have experienced serious performance issues and how they have addressed them. Also, carefully review the vendor’s practices for sharing platform performance issues with their customers. 7. Address carrier and delivery issues early in the process. This will require, but not be limited to, determining if you are going to continue to use your traditional voice and network carriers or migrate to those preferred by your cloud-based vendor; retain your 800 numbers; use a SIP gateway; need to install a multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) pipe; etc. 8. Make sure that the selected application comes with tools that allow your company to monitor and, if need be, administer the application from your site. The vendor may (or may not) have day-to-day responsibility for system moves, adds and changes, or other administrative and reporting functions. However, even if they do, your organization is ultimately responsible for handling your customers’ needs. Be sure that your organization can administer the application and make the required changes, if it becomes necessary. 9. Plan for a formal implementation process, and get all necessary resources lined up for cut-over. Even though you should not have to implement a substantial amount of hardware when doing a contact center cloud-based implementation (although there may be some), the cut-over should be handled as carefully as any other implementation. Draft the project plan, set dates, get internal and external resources lined up (including training managers, supervisors, agents and IT). Do not skip steps just because the solution is being implemented in the cloud. 10. Train the staff in the use of the application. Train your staff right before the implementation, and be sure that you have ongoing support available to help employees with questions for a week or two after cut-over. 11. Set up a team to address issues that arise during the implementation. The team should include representatives from the vendor, data center, carrier(s), contact center, IT, and any other relevant departments. 12. Establish a formal process to address problems. Do not leave anything to chance. Set up a formal process that includes a clearly documented escalation and resolution process, before it is needed. 13. Document the meaning of success. Be sure to document and share your organization’s definition of success, so that the vendor can properly plan and allocate the necessary resources to get the job done to your satisfaction. - 43 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  46. 46. Transitioning to Being a Leading and Highly Satisfied User of Cloud-Based Contact Center Systems and Applications Obviously, the primary difference between implementing premise and cloud-based solutions is the location of the hardware and software. When using a cloud solution the application (and associated hardware) is typically maintained in the vendor’s data center (likely a third-party data center.) However, just because the system or application is installed and maintained at a separate location does not mean that the end-user organization is not responsible for its performance, as it relates to their company and its customers. The end user’s contact center and IT department is ultimately still responsible for any system used. This seems to run counter to the current thinking about cloud-based solutions. However, this is what differentiates the leading end-user organizations from the rest of the pack: Leaders “own” and are fully responsible for their solutions, regardless of where they are based and who has title to the hardware and software. Leading contact centers find and acquire the systems and applications they need to meet their business needs. As the cloud-based market matures and these vendors learn how to keep their environments up and running 24x7, it is becoming less significant where these solutions are physically located and more important how they are utilized and managed by end-user organizations. There is a misconception that if a solution is in the cloud, the user of the application can be totally hands-off and is not accountable for its performance. This is a costly error that can result in high-profile service failures. If the service organization goes down and is not online and available to handle inquiries or sales calls due to a system performance issue at a cloud-based vendor, the end-user’s customers will not care that the interruption was the fault of a third-party provider. Leading organizations have a person or team that is responsible for their cloud-based application. This person remains actively engaged in the ongoing monitoring and performance of the solution. While they are a member of the organization’s team, they also need to be viewed as an active member in good standing of the cloud-based vendor's team. This approach will not eliminate all issues, but it will allow the organization to take necessary actions on a timely basis when problems arise. IV. Social Customer Care The last section of this benchmark study was dedicated to questions about social customer care, an emerging function that DMG has been following and analyzing for - 44 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  47. 47. years. The questions in this study were intended to determine if enterprises had made any progress in improving their handling of social media interactions. Although a large volume of posts, comments and tweets are “noise,” – feedback that does not require an answer – enterprises need listening devices and strategies to identify, capture and respond to social media comments that do require a response. DMG issued a worldwide benchmark study on this topic in November 2011 that identified the opportunities and challenges facing companies as they were attempting to integrate the handling of social media channels. The study asked: Figure 23: What social media channels are used for customer service? (Please choose all that apply.) Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 Facebook is the most frequently used social media channel by organizations, as reflected in 52.6% of the survey responses. Twitter was in second place, as indicated by 46.3% of the responses. LinkedIn was in third, 28.4%. YouTube was in fourth, 23.2%. Community forums and blogs tied for fifth place, 22.1%. Message boards came in sixth, - 45 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  48. 48. 16.8%. Google+ was in seventh, 14.7%. Tumblr was in eighth, 5.3%. Pinterest and MySpace tied for ninth, 3.2%. The findings for this question are not surprising, but it is interesting to compare the results of this benchmark study to the one that DMG did in November 2011, to see if company social media servicing channels are changing. Figure 24 ranks and compares the results of this benchmark study to the study from November 2011. Most of the channels are ranked the same, although there are slight differences in priorities. Additionally, Pinterest was just getting started in 2011. Figure 24: Comparison of Social Media Channels Used for Servicing in 2011 and 2013 2011 Study Rank 2013 Study Rank Facebook 1 1 Twitter 2 2 LinkedIn 3 3 Community Forums 4 5 YouTube 5 4 Blogs 5 6 Message Boards 6 7 Google+ 7 8 MySpace 8 10 Tumblr 9 9 N/A 10 Answer Options Pinterest Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 The survey asked: - 46 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  49. 49. Figure 25: What department is responsible for responding to social media comments and feedback on a daily basis? Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 Marketing is the lead organization responsible for responding to social media comments and feedback on a daily basis, as reflected in 41.1% of the responses. Corporate communications/public relations is the second most likely department to handle social media interactions in a company, 20.0%. The contact center and customer service departments tied for third place, each with 12.6% of the responses. The executive suite (executive communications) came in fourth place, 3.2%. A dedicated social media support team and a third-party consulting/advertising/marketing company tied for fifth place, 1.1%. It’s also important to point out that 8.4% of survey participants indicated that they did not have a department responsible for handing social media interactions. Figure 26 compares the findings for this question in 2011 to those from the 2013 benchmark study. A lot has changed in the two-year period. Marketing has solidified its - 47 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  50. 50. position as the go-to department for handling social media interactions, even though a majority of the feedback that requires responses is customer-service-oriented. Figure 26: What department is responsible for responding to social media comments and feedback on a daily basis, 2011 vs. 2013 2011 Study Rank 3 2013 Study Rank 1 Corporate communications/PR 4 2 Contact center 1 3 Customer service 2 3 Executive communications 6 4 Dedicated social media support team 5 5 Third-party consulting/advertising/ marketing company 8 5 Sales 7 N/A Each department sets its own social media strategy 11 N/A Answer Options Marketing Source: DMG Consulting LLC, October 2013 DMG’s Leader Profile: Social Customer Care The findings of this benchmark study do not support general industry claims that social customer care activities are being performed by leading organizations. Marketing has continued to pick up more responsibility for social media in many organizations. But marketing has never been interested in responding to customer service issues, so DMG is increasingly seeing the formation of dedicated social media support teams. These teams frequently report to marketing and are separate from customer service and the contact center. It is likely that marketing is setting up a new dedicated social media team to handle the service inquiries in order to avoid having to work with customer service or the contact center on this activity. Unfortunately, internal politics are moving organizations in the wrong direction, one that could expose the company to risk. The ideal way to handle social media interactions is to build a social customer care team using fully trained and knowledgeable customer service or contact center employees who know the company’s servicing and operational policies and procedures and are comfortable interacting in social media channels. It is likely that these employees are Millennials who grew up on social media, but any employee could potentially meet the criteria. Additionally, the social media responders support staff needs to be highly - 48 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  51. 51. sensitized and trained to avoid social firestorms and help their company avoid negative news stories. This team should report to both marketing and the service organization. This new servicing team needs a very complex and sophisticated set of tools to allow them to do their jobs and keep track of their responses. It’s is also important for customer service, and contact center employees in particular, as well as marketing and sales, to have visibility into what the social customer care staff is doing and saying in public forums. The market is still waiting for the delivery of functionally rich social media CRM or servicing applications, but this is an area of active development in the market. Transitioning to Being a leader in Social Customer Care It doesn’t take much to be a leader in the area of social customer care; the most important characteristic of leadership today is an organization that has a formal process to ensure that social media interactions directed at their company are properly handled. This can be accomplished with many different options and approaches, which is part of the challenge. DMG has seen some companies do a good job handling their social media interactions. These companies are using listening devices, a variety of text analytics functionality, routing and queuing software, and some type of servicing application to handle inquiries, posts and comments. But leading organizations also need to address the politics that are hampering the proper handling of social customer care within the servicing framework. Alternatively, organizations should totally rethink their servicing strategy. This is a good idea, anyway, as most companies have been delivering service the same way for the 20 to 30 years since contact centers started to enter the market. Social customer care is an area that deserves much more attention than it is receiving in most companies today. The channels are proliferating, as shown in this benchmark study. Facebook and Twitter are not standard support channels in most enterprises, even though customers think they should be. Most organizations have not yet developed formal policies and procedures for handling the communications received from social channels. - 49 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  52. 52. V. Final Thoughts This benchmark study answers and quantifies a few of the most frequently asked questions about contact centers. It provides companies with detailed guidance about 2014 contact center initiatives and investment priorities, to help them with their 2014 goals, plans and budgets. It reveals which channels are currently being used and what companies plan to use in the future. It proves that more than half of companies, specifically, 62.4%, are already using cloud-based contact center systems and applications. And 45.6% of the hold-outs are planning to move some of their applications to the cloud by the end of 2014. The study also takes a fresh look at the impact of social media on customer service, and finds that most companies are still very slow to build social customer care organizations. This is a mistake, as social media is a primary communications channel for Millennials, and it’s an error that a vast majority of companies are making. This study proves that voice (phone calls) is still the number-one supported channel; 97.1% of respondents support it. Email in second place (90.4%), Web chat in third (66.3%), and Web self-service in fourth place (47.1). The study also shows that some of the newer channels are on the rise, as they should be. Facebook (37.5%), SMS (35.6%), Twitter (34.6%) and mobile (34.6%) are all making a sizable impact. Video is a laggard, with only 20.2% of organizations adopting this channel. Organizations reviewing these numbers may use them to justify their slow migration to newer channels. While it is acceptable to continue to provide support in the traditional channels, DMG encourages all companies to start the discussion with their customers about how they want to be supported. Supporting customers in their channel of choice is increasingly becoming a strategic imperative, and is already a differentiator. While DMG’s research has found that few customers will drop a relationship with a company due to limited support channels, we do believe that prospects are increasingly taking into consideration the ease of doing business (including the choice of support channels) when selecting companies that they want to work with. This analysis provides a detailed list of top contact center initiatives for 2014. While analysts and pundits can debate the issue, the number-one goal for contact centers and service organizations in 2014 is to improve agent productivity, as indicated by 55.5% of the responses. There is nothing wrong with this objective, given that the vast majority of service organizations are people-intensive, and executives have a fiduciary responsibility to keep their costs down and profits up. The number-two goal for companies in 2014 is to increase the use of self-service solutions (45.3%). This is a highly effective way to improve agent productivity. By giving customers and prospects good alternatives to live support, companies can improve agent productivity. Of course, this will work only if companies build voice, Web and mobile applications that give their customers quality service. The third top goal for companies is to reduce the cost of service (41.1%). This is - 50 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  53. 53. tied to the first two goals. If companies improve agent productivity and increase the use of self-service, they will decrease the cost of service. The fourth goal for 2014 is to add support for new channels (37.9%). This study also shows which contact center systems and applications are in use and what is going to be adopted during 2014. Based on the results of the study, it appears as if 2014 is going to be a very good year for contact center investments. This is a great indication that the economy is well on its way to recovery, as during the recession service organizations lost out to revenue-generating departments when enterprises were making investment decisions. It is very interesting to note the large percentage of companies that plan to use cloudbased applications in the future, instead of traditional premise-based applications. Users of cloud-based contact center systems and application are only lukewarm in their satisfaction with these applications, but they are not giving up, and the solutions are getting better as adoption increases. However, cloud-based contact center infrastructure vendors should pay attention to these results. Since their customers are not locked in, they are going to need to do a better job of satisfying them if they want to retain them for the long run. There is a great deal happening in the contact center and customer service market. Service organizations of all sizes around the world are making investments in their future. They are investing in their strategy, people, technology and processes as they try to figure out how to deliver a great customer experience cost effectively. One thing is for sure: The cloud is going to play an increasingly important role in the future of these organizations. It may not be right for everyone, but it is certainly proving to be an effective way of acquiring contact center and customer service systems and applications for a growing number of contact centers. - 51 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  54. 54. VI. Appendix: DMG’s Benchmark Study Research Methodology DMG’s research goal is to obtain an unbiased response to our surveys, to provide readers with a benchmark of how other companies are performing or handling the issues addressed in each study. To achieve this goal, DMG invites enterprise, contact center, sales, marketing, operations and IT managers, decision-makers, leaders and executives to participate in our surveys. We use a variety of outlets for inviting participants, including DMG’s highly qualified newsletter list, online trade publications, newsletters that are read by our target audience, and other relevant lists, based on the content of our studies. DMG strives to obtain a representative group of participants that reflects the contact center market. Therefore, we reach out to small, mid-sized, large, and very large contact centers and organizations. Participants from around the world are invited to share their thoughts and opinions with us on the topic of the study. DMG requires a minimum of 100 complete responses in order to provide high-quality, representative results. To achieve this goal, we often receive input from 200 or more participants, some of whom answer only a portion of a survey. All participants are invited to receive a free copy of the survey study as a thank-you for their participation. - 52 - © DMG Consulting LLC
  55. 55. About Connect First Connect First is an award-winning SaaS telecommunications and cloud contact center software provider that focuses on customer satisfaction and elegant hosted solutions. Connect First offers a robust platform, designed and supported by a team of highly experienced engineers, designers and business analysts, and backed with personalized in-house customer care. Solutions include Cloud Routing, Inbound ACD, Outbound Dialing, Call Tracking, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Voice Broadcast, Disaster Recovery, Predictive Dialer, Real-Time Telemetry, CDR Reporting, Live Agent Chat and more. Through a consultative approach with each customer interaction, Connect First builds customized solutions to meet the needs of a discerning customer base. Visit our website at www.connectfirst.com or call 888-965-1588 for more information or to arrange a free consultation with a contact center solutions expert. About DMG Consulting LLC DMG Consulting is the leading provider of contact center, back office and analytics research, market analysis and consulting services. DMG’s mission is to help end users build world-class, differentiated contact centers and back office operating environments, and to assist vendors in developing high-value solutions for the market. DMG devotes more than 10,000 hours annually to researching various segments of the contact center and back office markets, including vendors, solutions, technologies, best practices, and the benefits and ROI for end users. DMG is an independent firm that provides information to executives, contact center managers, the financial and investment community, and vendors in the market. For more information, visit www.dmgconsult.com. - 53 - © DMG Consulting LLC

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